No-Churn Chocolate Butter Pecan Ice Cream is velvety smooth, amazingly delicious and easy to make. The chocolate ice cream itself uses only three ingredients – heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk and unsweetened cocoa. Added to that are two additional ingredients of butter and pecans that take the ice cream over the top. I was skeptical about no-churn ice cream being as good as the traditional churned ice cream. However, I was totally wrong! It’s as good, if not even better.
No-Churn Works Because of Science
If you’ve ever made regular churned ice cream, you no doubt experienced the increasing volume and lightness of the ice cream from start to finish. The increasing volume and lightness are the result of air being incorporated into the ice cream mixture during the churning.
A key ingredient of no-churn ice cream is whipped cream. As the cream is whipped, its volume increases with the incorporation of air and it becomes lighter. Therefore, you have the same principle at work – whipping the cream introduces air and lightness into the mixture in the same way that churning introduces air and lightness in the ice cream.
The other key ingredient in no-churn ice cream is sweetened condensed milk. The reason is two-fold. First, sweetened condensed milk has a high sugar content. Sugar lowers the freezing point which keeps the ice cream from becoming rock hard. Second, the milk has been cooked down to reduce the amount of water that could otherwise lead to the formation of ice crystals. The result is a velvety smooth ice cream!
Ingredients for No-Churn Chocolate Butter Pecan Ice Cream
I used the following ingredients for this stupendous ice cream: Salted butter, pecan pieces, unsweetened cocoa, sweetened condensed milk and unsweetened cocoa. Rather than salted butter, I could have used unsalted butter with a pinch of salt added. I used regular sweetened condensed milk. I really don’t know whether the low-fat or no fat variety would work here. Finally, I used regular unsweetened cocoa, but Dutch processed cocoa would also work here.
Making No-Churn Ice Cream
The first thing that I did was to toast the pecan pieces in some melted butter over medium low heat. This took about 3 minutes. Once the pecans were golden brown, I removed them from the heat and let them cool.
While the pecans were cooling, I mixed together the cocoa and the sweetened condensed milk.
The next thing that I did was to whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks formed. This took several minutes. Then, I added about a cup of the whipped cream to the cocoa mixture. The reason for adding a small amount of the whipped cream was to lighten the cocoa mixture. This made it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream without deflating the air that has been incorporated with the whipping.
Once the whipped cream and cocoa mixture were mixed together, I poured the ice cream into a chilled 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. I covered the pan and placed it into the freezer for about 2 hours until it started to set. After 2 hours, I removed the ice cream from the freezer and folded in the toasted pecans.
I covered the ice cream and placed it into the freezer for another 4 hours.
The No-Churn Chocolate Butter Pecan Ice Cream was amazing. It was perfectly sweetened and velvety smooth. It had a mousse like-texture with the crunchy toasted pecans producing a surprise in every bite. Yum!
If you’d rather use an ice cream machine, you should try these awesome recipes:
- No-Egg Creamy Georgia Peach Ice Cream
- Triple Chocolate Ice Cream with Waffle Cones
- Vanilla Ice Cream – Philadelphia Style
- Limoncello Ice Cream
- Strawberry Ice Cream
- Nutella Gelato
No-Churn Chocolate Butter Pecan Ice Cream
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped pecans
- 1 Tablespoon salted butter (See Tip 1)
- 1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder (See Tip 2)
- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk (See Tip 3)
- 2 cups (16 ounces) heavy cream
- Place 9 x 5 x 3-inch metal loaf pan in freezer to chill.
- Heat butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add chopped pecans. Toast for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Watch carefully. Cool.
- Combine cocoa powder and sweetened condensed milk in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Whip cream in a large bowl until stiff peaks form, abut 2 minutes. Fold in about a cup of whipped cream to sweetened condensed mixture with a rubber spatula until well combined. Then fold the lightened mixture into the whipped cream until well blended. Pour into a chilled 9 x 5 x 3-inch metal loaf pan. Cover pan; freeze until thick and creamy about 2 hours. (See Tip 4)
- Fold in toasted pecans. Continue to freeze, covered, until solid and scoopable, about 4 hours more.
- Yield: 10 servings. (See Tip 5)
Chula's Expert Tips
- You could also use unsalted butter with a pinch of salt.
- I used Hershey's unsweetened cocoa. You could also use Dutch processed cocoa.
- I used regular sweetened condensed milk. I've not tried this ice cream with low-fat or no-fat sweetened condensed milk, so don't know whether that would work or not.
- After about 2 hours in the freezer, the ice cream will be the consistency of soft-serve ice cream making it a perfect consistency to add the pecans.
- Because of the taste and consistency of this ice cream, you could do all sorts of variations with it. For example, you could add marshmallows for rocky road ice cream, leave out the chocolate and add crushed Oreos for cookies and cream ice cream, leave out the chocolate and add strawberries or peaches, dress it up by adding Grand Marnier, Godiva Chocolate liqueur, bourbon, etc.!